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Yet Another Electric-Car Condition: Now We Have 'Charger Fixation'

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Ford Fusion Energi charging.

Ford Fusion Energi charging.

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First came range anxiety.

Then, we had charger rage.

Now, people are noticing another condition unique to plug-in car owners: Charger fixation.

It's what happens when you plug in your electric car at every single opportunity you get--and particularly if the charging is free.

According to Orange County Register, it's something several plug-in car owners are doing, prioritizing parking spots with chargers even if they don't really need a top-up.

One Tesla Model S owner the Register spoke to charges his car whenever the electricity is free, regardless of how much range he has left. "If it's free, I'll take it" he said.

It's causing a few problems. John O'Dell, senior editor at Edmunds and Leaf owner, says it's causing charger congestion in Southern California. Those people who don't necessarily need a charge are leaving their cars plugged in for quite some time.

You might consider plugging in at every opportunity simple common sense--making the most of an empty charging space to give you that extra bit of range when you need it. If it's free, all the better.

But there are downsides. Someone may need that charge more than you do. It ties back into our discussions on charging etiquette--you might have an electric car, but it doesn't give you the right to occupy an electric car parking spot if you don't really need it.

And plugging in everywhere you go regardless of how much you need those few extra kilowatt-hours seems a bit... pointless. Perhaps it's an exponent of range anxiety, and fades as electric car users get used to the range of their vehicles.

Some charging companies are trying to minimize charger "squatting" by charging only a nominal amount for juice for the first hour or two, but bumping up the charges thereafter.

And charging for charging is becoming more prevalent as it is--provider ChargePoint suggests just 40 percent of its units will be free to use in six months time, down from 80 percent last year. Perhaps losing free charging will result in fewer people occupying charging posts when they don't really need to.

We're not sure "charger fixation" is really a condition, though.

To us it seems more like a way of maximizing your range each day. Combined with a touch of selfishness, if you don't really need to charge.

Have you ever used a charging point when you didn't really need to? Is it important to keep your car topped up, or do you just charge for the journey ahead? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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